Why do certain urbanscapes offer more opportunity for violence and crime than others? This past week at Herald Strategies, we've been trying to get to the heart of this question. Back in February, a close friend and client was assaulted in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Rabbi Aaron L Raskin was approached by teenagers, and punched in the face. He isn't the first victim of violence in the park, and he certainly isn't the last. This past spring, park-goers have been pelted by basketballs, threatened with knives, and in a sort of West-Bank-like situation, assailed with heavy rocks. But the most recent case was the fatal shooting of Michelle Marks. She was walking home from work last Monday night when she was murdered by her boyfriend...Read More
We were terribly saddened to hear that this past Sunday evening, January 31st at 6:18 P.M. our client: prominent rabbi, community leader, author and pulpit rabbi Aaron Raskin of Congregation Bnai Avraham in Brooklyn Heights, was attacked. Rabbi Raskin was assaulted on Joralemon Street in Brooklyn Heights, while walking home from his synagogue. Luckily, he was not terribly hurt, and he thanks G-d for protecting him and safeguarding him. In response to this attack - and the rumblings of other similar attacks and violence in Brownstone Brooklyn - Rabbi Raskin decided to stand up and unite the community against violence.
This past Monday, Rabbi Raskin asked our team at Herald Strategies to start an initiative called: BHU or Brooklyn Heights United. The idea was to hold a press conference and rally to unite the community, religious and community leaders, and elected officials against violence. Through our efforts and dedication and through the support of many Brooklyn Heights organizations and community groups, we were able to host this rally and show tremendous community unity.
A group of over 100+ attended this event today - despite heavy snow and cold weather - and the rabbi was joined by US Congresswoman Nydia Velasquez (NY-7), State Senator Daniel Squadron, Assemblywoman JoAnne Simon, Councilman Stephen Levin, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and representatives from the NYC Public Advocate, NYC Comptroller, Senator Velmanette Montgomery, and Senator Jesse Hamilton's offices. In addition, there were ministers, priests, reverends, and other rabbis from throughout Brooklyn and New York City to lend their support.
It was a real triumph and huge show of support to the rabbi. Despite bad weather, our community and it's leaders gathered to stand up to violence. The rabbi will be working with local elected officials, community leaders and the Guardian Angels to think of ways to educate our youth and prevent these crimes and assaults from happening in the first place.
After the rally, which had to be moved inside (many thanks to the Brooklyn Bar Association and it's executive director Avery Eli Okin for opening their doors on short notice and allowing us to host the event in their auditorium) the rabbi led a peace march through the streets of Brooklyn Heights to the location where he was attacked. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said a few words and the Rabbi Raskin led the group in prayers.
Again, it was/is terrible that this incident occurred and we sincerely hope that these assaults no longer happen in Brooklyn Heights and throughout the city. We are hopeful because the rabbi was able to turn this horrific assault into a tremendous positive, by bringing our community leaders and elected officials together, and by calling on everyone to work together to fight and prevent crime, to better educate our youth, and to report any incidents that occur so that the NYPD can solve the crimes and better protect and serve throughout the city.
Thanks to all who came out today and a special thanks to the 84th precinct for apprehending the perpetrator of this crime swiftly.